Category Archives: friendship

Admit Impediments

Connie and I were the last two kids to live in our houses. We were the same age and only saw each other through the fence between our postage-stamp size backyards. She never came over to my yard to play and I never went over to her.

We passed a few small things back and forth between the fence, maybe some leaves or flowers or very small toys. We could never hold each other’s dolls. And of course human contact is not easy through chain link.

Was this fence the beginnings of the self-inflicted barriers I placed on my personal relationships throughout my life? Maybe it is why I crave isolation.

I suspect my mother and grandmother had their reasons for maintaining this barrier. They were distrustful and critical of other people. Better to keep a distance. Our two houses were destined for demolition so why bother to cultivate friendships? They would never go out of their way to find Connie’s new house and take me there for a visit. And they certainly wouldn’t want extra kids over at their house.

I still think about Connie at times and wonder what path she took in life. Does she remember the incarceration?

A Life Cluttered With Friends

Second-Hand Stories
What’s the best story someone else has recently told you (in person, preferably)? Share it with us, and feel free to embellish — that’s how good stories become great, after all.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/second-hand-stories/


My friend Kate’s sister-in law, Margie, has debilitating arthritis and she and her husband, Tom, decided to sell their two-story home for a smaller, one-story one which will make it easier for them to get around.

I already knew this. What I didn’t know about Margie is that she loves gay guys. She has many gay friends and, by chance, her old house was bought by a gay couple.

Now Kate and Ben are rather traditional. Married over 40 years with two children, one boy, one girl. (Or maybe that’s the oddity these days, so many divorces, etc.) One time they went on vacation to South Dakota to find out they were smack dab in the middle of Sturgis bike week. They didn’t have a clue about this massive gathering. With their two young kids, they took off on their summer vacation and landed in this alcohol-infused, wild party. For months, I had fun calling Kate motorcycle mama. So I wondered, how do they feel about Margie and her friends?

Margie likes the gay couple that bought her house. They take turns with dinner parties, she visits them at her old house (now their new house), and goes out with these guys. New additions to her rather vast friendships within the gay community.

Kate said her brother seems to be a little jealous of Mary’s friendships with gay guys. I think that is only conjecture. Mary is quite happy with Tom and friends are friends.

I think gay guys like Mary because she is fun. I like her too. For one thing, she is never boring, great to talk to. I remember the time she spilled a beer on her foot at a party. She just owned it, make a joke of it, and kept on partying. Don’t cry over spilled beer.

She also collects antiques, tons of them. Things like a dress form outfitted in an old Wayne State University football uniform (moth-eaten of course) standing near her front doorway. She moved a lot of her collected treasures to her new house even though she is willing to sell them. She thought an antique yard sale in her new house would help her meet her new neighbors. I don’t know what her new neighbors thought of her varied and crazy collections. I hate clutter, but she has a collector-bug charm.

More than anything, she is happy and upbeat despite her health problems. She’s positive and accepting, an example of what we should all strive for. As for Kate and Ben, they shrug their shoulders and accept their modern family and friends.

Shades of Grey

My good friend has thick, curly, salt and pepper hair that reaches past her shoulders. I’ve known her about 35 years. Or I should say I met her 35 years ago. Some years I never spoke or wrote to her. Her birthday just passed by last month and I just remembered. Not even a greeting card from me. So maybe she is not my good friend after all. But I hate to think that way.

We met at work and I saw her every day, five days a week, until she decided to pursue a master’s degree in literature. She left and lived in Indiana, Puerto Rico, Iowa, and Indiana again. She taught in China. She traveled multiple times to Europe. I stayed home and never wandered too far. I like to think she is Melville to my Dickinson. But that is only when my ego and sanity run amuck.

We lost touch and found it again a few times over the years. Out of all my friends, and there aren’t that many, I want to consider her my dearest. It’s not what it is, but what I desire. I feel we could have known each other better than anyone else could have. I’m not easy to get close to and I’ve pushed away a fair share of people.

I remember a girl I met in my freshman year at college. She went out of her way to talk to me and one day said she hoped to hang out with me. I said I was busy with a boyfriend, school, and work. I saw some pain and bitterness in her face as if she had been on the receiving end of rejection before. I didn’t see the worth of what she was offering me. I relive that moment with regret at the friendship unexplored.

My good friend had thick, curly, dark brown hair that reached past her shoulders. She wished it were straight. I wished I could trade her hair for my straight, thin, limp, dishwater blond hair. But what percentage of women love their hair? The curly, chemically straighten. The straight haired, curl. The brown dye blond, the blond dye brown, an endless cycle. Critical women slammed the undone black hair of the fit and pretty Gabrielle Douglas at this past Olympics. I do not know the complex world of black women’s hair. But I do know that women want the hair that they do not have.

I dyed my hair just before I last saw my good friend in March. I bought a box color and as usual, was not happy with the results. Even an expensive salon dye job never made me content. The stylist would show me a color sample and tell me it was perfect for me. But the color never matched the sample. Even if the color came out just OK, it quickly faded or turned brassy.

I haven’t dyed since. The grey, white, and mousy light brown hair is becoming prominent on my head. My good friend was part of my inspiration. Each day, I notice more women that let the grey out. I like it.

The dye often irritated my scalp. I’m not wasting money on that box of dye or on salon treatments I don’t love. No more brassy gold, red blond, quick-to-fade brown.

Don’t get me wrong, grey is not the new blond. The forever young baby boomers can’t claim gray hair is youthful. I’m just letting my inner hagness out.  I don’t regret looking old. My regrets have more to do with friendships that failed to flower. So instead, I type to an anonymous few.